The thought of making a career change in mid-life can be a cause for much stress and anxiety. You may know in your heart that you wish to change the course of your life, but it can be a daunting prospect, especially after having spent years doing one thing. Talking to a counsellor can help you decide which part of your career you have enjoyed so far and work out a new course for your life. But even if you know what is it that you want to do, sometimes you might need a little push before you can actually take the plunge. Professional counselling can help overcome the fears and anxiety associated with big life decisions and help you move forward in life.
How come we find it so difficult?
For some of us, there comes a point in life, where you feel burnt out and just know that you want to change course. You know that you have put in as much as you can and got as much as you could out of your current activity, and that it is time to move on. It is surprising how many people have this feeling, but decide not to act on it. Very few people actually pay heed to their instinct and take the big step to start a new career. This is largely due to fear – fear of the unknown and fear of whether they will be up to it.
Tough economic conditions, increasing job cuts and redundancies and unending spending cuts mean that many of us have to change careers at a time that we were least expecting, let alone, prepared to do it. Having to start from scratch after years of hard work doing something else, can cause a big blow to one’s self confidence and even self esteem. Having to face your own personal fears and tackle the realities of day-to-day life at the same time can make the problem appear even larger than it really is. Talking to someone about this or seeking professional counselling can help externalise the problem and put things in perspective.
Knowing our strengths as well as our limitations
It is said that people become less and less flexible as they grow older, not necessarily physically, but mentally. It seems difficult to conquer ones perceived limitations and fears after a certain stage in life, and this is why the thought of a career change after a certain age can be so intimidating.
Getting out there and finding the perfect new career based on your skills and interests requires confidence and motivation, and the ability to overcome fear. A big life decision such as this can often leave you feeling lost, not knowing where to start and what to make of your feelings.
Counselling can help deal with these factors and help streamline the process of embarking on a new path.
Loss of confidence is often the biggest factor that plays into people’s aversion to a career change. Starting afresh is often wrongly viewed as failure, when in fact, the very act of starting something new means you are not giving up, but people seldom realise this. It usually takes another person to help us get a more complete picture of ourselves. Even if starting over may not be personally viewed as failure, there is a lurking fear that society views it as such, which stops us from taking action.
Could Counselling be useful?
Counselling can facilitate an understanding of what success means to you as an individual, and what signifies success. It can help you develop an understanding of yourself and what is important to you.
Understanding your own version of success is a key factor in building the confidence to change your career. Often societal norms and expectations can bog an individual down as they create anxiety and fear. The pressure of having to achieve and conforming to a prescribed form of success can stop one from achieving or even trying to achieve all that they are capable of. But in order to even have a chance of being successful in a new venture it is absolutely necessary to go into it with a positive attitude. And for this, it is necessary to remove limiting psychological perceptions from your mind.
Counselling can help you see what exactly it is that you deem as success. It can help you make a clear distinction between what you personally want, and what you think is expected of you. By opening up and exploring your personal fears and concerns, you can begin to deal with them instead of just being confronted by them. Therapy and counselling are meant to provide a space for frank and open discussion, in a non judgemental and professional setting. This can be the perfect avenue to explore your personal limitations and to find ways to get around them in order to set off on a new career path.